Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Citrus season inspires experimenting with this bright new salad recipe

In citrus country where our son lives, oranges grow on trees like roses on a rose bush. Sometimes, from a distance, a citrus tree in bloom will appear to be almost ablaze because of its brilliant orange color. This time of year, in the peak of citrus season, folks will have huge baskets of oranges, lemons, or grapefruit sitting on their curbs; these boxes bear signs that say, “Free. Take some.” Residents are more than happy to offer up their overflow citrus to passersby—and believe me, the overflow from their citrus gardens is plenteous.

Naturally, when I visit there during the season that citrus is king, I'm eager to try some of the citrus recipes I've been saving. A recent issue of Southern Living magazine dedicated itself to extolling what it called “the incomparable sassy tartness and vibrant good looks of citrus” and helped out with several delicious recipe suggestions that I’m eager to try with some of the fruit I've collected.

However, the first of my citrus treats—Citrus Bulgur Salad—was prepared with a recipe from the Chickasaw Nutrition Services. I'll be the first to admit that not only had I never cooked with bulgur, I really wasn’t familiar with the product and had to look it up on the Internet so I’d even know in which section of the grocery to search for it. I learned that bulgur, a whole-grain wheat product, is considered one of the best ways to incorporate whole grain into the diet. As a growing number of people know, diets rich in whole-grain foods may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Mixing the bulgur with sections of a fresh orange and grated orange peel, along with tomato, fresh parsley, onion, and seasonings, made an amazing salad. I started out by cooking the bulgur in a covered pan much as one would cook brown rice: two parts water to one part bulgur. After it simmered for about 20 minutes and all the water in the pan was absorbed, it was ready to cool and then add to the remaining ingredients.

The recipe with the odd name—Citrus Bulgur Salad—was excellent; the oranges made an dynamite pairing with the nutritious grains. I had stretched and grown and learned a new ingredient; the salad it made was fit for any family gathering or buffet table. Best of all, eating just one portion of bulgur provides nearly all of USDA's recommended daily dietary guidelines for whole grains. One serving also contains only 70 calories, 5 mg sodium, and 0 mg cholesterol. Now who can argue with that?

Citrus Bulgur Salad

1/2 cup bulgur, uncooked
1 large orange, peeled, membrane removed, chopped
1/4 cup medium red onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cook bulgur as directed on package, omitting salt. In a medium bowl toss bulgur and remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Makes 6 1/2-cup servings.

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